4 Ways Your Practice Can Stay Ahead of the Curve

4 ways your practice can stay ahead of the curve

Medical practices must continually adapt to a rapidly changing environment — whether in terms of technology, payment and reimbursement, or patient care. Here are four ways to help your practice stay ahead of the curve:

  1. Stay up to date on continuing medical education and business trends. Doing so may require you to carve out more time to read medical journals and business-related publications. Budget and make time for webinars, seminars and conferences, as well. Time may be the most difficult thing to find but, in terms of staying ahead of the changing medical and business/regulatory environment, you’ll be better off both as a physician and a business owner if you embark on the search.
  2. Choose appropriate technology. By now, most physicians are aware that technology can be both a help and a hindrance. Adopting electronic medical records and practice management software didn’t necessarily make practices profitable or solve various ongoing inefficiencies. Some of those inadequacies are related to unrealistic expectations set by sales efforts by vendors and regulators, while others arise because of inadequate training or not taking into consideration how workflow might have to adapt to technology.

When acquiring new technology, make sure that you provide the time and resources for you and the appropriate staff members to learn how to use it. In addition, give some thought on how to better integrate technology into the practice to accomplish your goals.

  1. Use multiple channels of communication. Face-to-face communication — with staff, colleagues and patients — is the best way to communicate. But other options for communicating include emails, memos, texts and mobile apps. Many feel that “flooding the zone” — in other words, using many different channels to communicate — is the best approach to reach everyone. At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that too many messages can be overwhelming for the people you’re trying to reach.
  2. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Are some processes in your medical practice unnecessarily complicated? Are some procedures in your practice being done too often or in a more complicated way than necessary? Could some processes be automated?

For example, when using the electronic health records, you might want to count the number of clicks it takes to complete a certain task. Some physicians have found that, by eliminating a single click per procedure, they can decrease the original number of clicks by 50 to 75 clicks per week. This seems minor, but it can really add up to huge time and energy savings.

There’s no indication that change in health care is going to slow down. But taking a few steps to anticipate and deal with change can go a long way toward decreasing stress and improving efficiency.

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